Greetings from Sao Paulo, Brazil! It’s been a whirlwind week – we wrapped up our winter quarter classes, completed final projects and exams, then headed south to Brazil for two weeks of design research for an NUvention Innovate for Impact class project to understand opportunities to minimize waste in the food supply chain. We’ll be offline until we return to the U.S. in late March but we’ll definitely provide a recap of our trip (with lots of photos) at that time. Muito obrigado! Chelsea & Saloni
Highlights from Week of 3/5
- Delivered our second week of meals to our ten pilot customers and sat down with many of them to get really insightful feedback on week 1.
- Made it to the final round of the Kellogg Social Entrepreneurship Award competition – we’re honored to be in the running for an $80,000 award to launch our venture post-Kellogg!
- Pitched Fresh Takes Kitchen to an esteemed panel of judges for the Kellogg Innovation Network Global Prize and were selected as one of four finalist teams to pitch to 200 incredible delegates at the KIN Global Summit on June 1st for $100,000 in potential investment.
Week 2 of Our Pilot Meal Service & Feedback Galore
We had another busy Friday filled with shopping and cooking to prepare 3 fresh, tasty meals for each of our 10 pilot customers. We were excited to have 100% customer retention between week 1 and 2.
Our meal preparation process felt a lot smoother our third time around. With the previous week’s learnings in hand and the help of our culinary advisors Nancy and Nell, we refined our menu to strike a balance between ingredient variety and simplicity to manage our food and labor costs while maintaining high nutrient value and flavor. We also developed a more detailed schedule for our kitchen time which allowed us to break down tasks at the activity level and divide up work across our team. We were fortunate to have two great volunteer resources again this week – the talented and dedicated Chetna Pathak (back for round 2!) and Now We’re Cookin’ culinary intern Kristin Thompson – thanks ladies!
Here’s a quick look at this week’s meals:
On Saturday, we dropped off our second round of meals, collected comment cards that our customers had filled out while eating the previous week’s meals, and then hung out in the YMCA to chat with the 6 customers who stopped by to share feedback in person. Overall, we received some great feedback – our customers were happy with the meals and had some ideas for how to make our service even better including choosing proteins that cook consistently (for example boneless chicken thighs v. bone-in thighs for our jerk chicken), being as clear as possible about re-heating instructions for different meals, and not being afraid to keep it simple (helpful input for our menu refinement process!)
We’re excited for week 3 when we’ll open up 10 more spots to interested customers and see how the referral system – our growth hypothesis – works! Anecdotally we’ve heard of a lot of interest through our current customers and partners, but we’re excited to validate this after opening up registration for our new spots.
Kellogg Venture Competition Successes: KSEA and KIN
On Wednesday morning we pitched Fresh Takes Kitchen along with 9 other semifinalists for the Kellogg Innovation Network Global Prize competition. We had a really great dialogue with an esteemed panel of judges including Stephanie Wolcott, Michael Collins, and Brian Van Wagener – and took away some great insight and in exchange, left behind some sample meals to taste. We were honored and thrilled to learn on Saturday that Fresh Takes Kitchen had been selected as one of the four teams to pitch in the final round at the KIN Global Summit – an incredible opportunity to share our idea with 200 amazing delegates and get even more feedback from experts across industries and sectors – and to compete for $100,000 in prize funding to launch our venture post-Kellogg.
On Friday, we were excited to learn that we had also made it to the final round for the Kellogg Social Entrepreneurship Award – an incredible opportunity to engage with mentors and judges, including Professor Mohan Sawhney, who can help us continue to refine our model and story. We’re one of two teams with an opportunity to win $80,000 to launch our venture and we couldn’t be more thrilled!
Our biggest overall learning this week: Balancing customization with standardization is critical! This came up both in our discussion with the judges during our KIN pitch from a scale perspective, and again when we spoke with our customers on Saturday. Where we originally thought that providing culturally relevant meals would be important, we’ve learned so far that responsiveness to our customer base is more important – and that as long as meals taste good and are wholesome and filling – cultural relevance is less critical. Our customers seem to be actually enjoying trying new ingredients and foods, but want both their voice heard and a responsive service provider.
Coming Next Week: We’ll be offline while we continue to explore the topic of waste in the food supply chain in Brazil. We’ll be back in action the last week of March with an update on our final week of our pilot meal service with the McGaw YMCA – we’ll be serving an expanded group of 20 customers. Tchau!